The Vox Ace was part of a new range of guitars announced by JMI in November/December of 1960; one of numerous solid bodies produced in the United Kingdom. It had a model designation V-2-5 or V205. It was equipped with two pickups, initially chrome-covered Vox 1950s/60s single coil pickup (although briefly), then the typical Vox V1 units. Finally these were upgraded to white Vox V2 pickups with individual polepieces.
The very earliest examples had slab bodies with front binding and natural finish.
Early examples are also characterised by their long headstock (also seen on early Super Ace (three pickup model), Duotone (no tremolo) and Clubman models) but this neck was discontinued most likely by mid/late 1963.
Unlike the better known, and somewhat similar dual-pickup model, the Shadow, which was fitted with the Standard Vox Tremolo, the Ace was fitted with the Ace de Luxe Tremolo. The Ace was a higher end model than the Shadow, and it did have a better neck with a curved rosewood fingerboard, compared to the completely flat neck of the Shadow. It still had no adjustable truss rod though, and (early examples at least) still had a laminate wood body. Later models were made of an unspecified "lightweight hardwood", most likely mahogany or agba.
This is how the Vox Ace was described in the 1964 Vox catalogue 'Precision in Sound'.Specially selected lightweight hardwood body. Two six-pole pickups, volume control and separate flick-action tone change. Compensating bridge unit incorporated in smooth action tremolo unit. polished, reinforced neck, with rosewood fingerboard. Red, white or sunburst mirror finish.
Despite the 1964 catalogue description, other colours were also shipped in small numbers beyond 1964, pale blue for example.
The Vox Ace changed continually throughout the course of it's production; some changes are very subtle indeed, some very much more obvious; see some of these summarised below. Dates are approximate.
The Vox Ace controls were very simple, consisting of just a master volume, a master tone, and a three-way pickup selector switch. The circuitry consisted two pots, in most cases a 1 MΩ logarithmic volume, and a 250 kΩ linear tone. (Actually, the 1966 parts list suggests a 250 kΩ volume; the precise value is clearly not critical). The tone pot was typically wired to a .05&mic;F Hunts capacitor. The switch, is a vintage style 'Arrow' brand 3 way, with two 47kΩ resistors (value bands yellow, violet, orange)
Click on the schematic or circuit images below for a closer look.
The Vox Ace circuit did not change functionally over the course of production, and although some Ace circuits look a little different, they all work in the same way.
This early 60s Vox Ace has the output jack mounted to the body edge (not visible in this pic). The bridge earth (orange lead) is the only non original wire in this loom.
This mid 60s Vox Ace has the output jack mounted onto the scratchplate, but is functionally identical to the early 60s loom above.